Lesotho Amateur Boxing Association (LABA) president, Takatso Ramakhula, has praised local boxers who continue to do the country proud at the All-Africa Games currently underway in Brazzaville, Congo.
Six of the seven boxers representing Lesotho at the 1–18 September multi-sport event won their first fights, with Mokhachane Moshoeshoe the only one to falter at the initial level of the four-yearly tournament.
With Qhobosheane Mohlekhephe winning his second fight, Ramakhula believes Lesotho is on course for glory at the tournament.
“I have always said there is huge potential in local boxing and I think we could have gone far had the team started with the African Boxing Championship held recently in Morocco,” Ramakhula said.
“Just imagine what we could have done if we had sent the team to fine-tune in Morocco because most of the boxers at the All-Africa Games were at the African Championships.”
Ramakhula lamented boxing’s eternal struggle for funding due to the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission’s (LSRC) refusal to recognise his leadership and executive on the grounds rules were flouted during its election in 2012.
“If we had been fortunate enough to have good preparations as the other nations at the All-Africa Games, then our boxers would have been unstoppable. But still, I’m proud of the boys,” said Ramakhula.
“This team is hungry for success and the boxers look determined to come home with medals.
“For them, this tournament is to show the country what they can do so that they get the support they deserve for their careers to develop even further.
“If there had been no disputes between our executive and the Sports Commission, our boxers would be on their way to the World Boxing Championships to be held in Qatar next month.
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“The Qatar tournament will be an Olympic qualifier and I have no doubt that it was going to work out well for us.
“Now our current standoff with the LSRC means we will have to hunt for Olympic qualifying competitions for our boxers to stand a chance of competing in Rio de Janeiro next year.”
According to Ramakhula, Moroke Mokhotho, who won a silver medal at the 2011 edition of the All-Africa Games held in Mozambique, stands a great chance of clinching gold this time around.
Another boxer, Tšepo Lepoqo, was also impressive on Tuesday afternoon as he beat his Nigerian opponent by technical knockout.
Ramakhula says such skill can only mean his executive is on the right course in taking Lesotho boxing to the next level.